We will not let the virus of hate spread.


Hate crawled up from the sewers of Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday and flooded the streets with thousands of white men baring torches and chanting unbelievable hatred.

Many thought we were past such horrors, that the days of torches and pitch forks held high by angry white men screaming hate were gone for good. We might have hoped that the racist haters that still exist understand that this kind of venom just won’t be tolerated by most people in our society.

With Friday’s rally of violent white supremacists this hope died. What happened in Charlottesville was an overt manifestation of what is experienced by millions of First Nations, Black, south Asian, Hispanic and most non-white people everyday. What is exceptional about this moment, is that there is a President in the US who has been fanning the flames of racist hatred.

None of us can afford to stay silent. The future of our society is at stake. And we cannot be fooled into believing this is a problem only south of the border.

We have already seen branches of the so called “Proud Boys,” attack a First Nations’ rally in Canada. Affiliates of the white supremacists behind Charlottesville are organizing in Canada. Their propaganda has been found postered in neighbourhoods all across the country.

It is true that we are living through difficult times because of increasing economic inequality. Many working people here and in the United States are losing their jobs, being forced to take low-paid and precrecarious work, struggling to make ends meet.

It is this vulnerability that racist haters, white supremists and neo-nazies are trying to exploit to pit us against each other.

We cannot let this happen.

Let’s be clear, it is not racialized people that are taking jobs away from working people or responsible for the increase in part-time, temporary low-wage jobs. It is the largely white corporate elite who keep shipping jobs off shore so they can exploit other racialized workers in sweatshops. They are the ones who rake in hundreds of billions in profits while cutting jobs, privatizing the things we all own in common and refusing to pay a living wage.

We must all rise together against racism and hate. It is only together that we can truly address the inequalities in our society.



Workplace laws need further changes: Horwath

The Changing Workplaces Review that kicked off an overdue discussion on raising wages was supposed to recognize how work has changed in Ontario. Sadly, it didn’t.

Proposed changes to the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Acts aren’t good enough, writes Andrea Horwath.
Proposed changes to the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Acts aren’t good enough, writes Andrea Horwath.  (CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)  

I publicly committed to a $15 minimum wage in early 2016, and since then, the NDP has been proud to join together with the advocacy groups and unions that led the unrelenting push for a $15 wage.

Now, it’s up to Queen’s Park to do the right thing for workers. That means making sure wage increases actually happen — but it also means doing so much more to help the growing number of people in unstable work build stability.

The fact is, the Changing Workplaces Review that kicked off this overdue discussion was supposed to recognize how work has changed in Ontario. Sadly, it didn’t. Now, the proposed changes to the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Acts aren’t good enough.

Less stable work — like part-time and contract work — is quickly on the rise. Since Kathleen Wynne became premier, the number of people working more than one part-time job has shot up 20 per cent.

But the changes now on the table fall short of levelling the playing field for those workers. The bill is riddled with inconsistencies, giving some rights to some, not to others.

The NDP is now touring to hear feedback on this bill. It’s clear the bill fails to give temporary, part-time and contract workers more stability — and fails many other workers in other ways. After we’ve heard what people across the province have to say, I’ll be tabling a full package of meaningful amendments.

I can tell you now, there are a few issues my amendments will definitely address.

First, I believe workers with unstable, part-time and contract work should have access to paid sick and personal emergency days. It’s not right to force a person to choose between taking care of their health, or protecting their budget for the month.

Yet, those workers are restricted to just two days per year — meant to cover everything from illness to surgery, a flooded basement at home or a sick child.

I’ll be fighting for a reasonable number of paid days to cover illness and personal emergencies.

The bill also gives three weeks’ vacation only to those with five years of seniority in a job. That’s too long to wait, given the changed nature of work.

And it’s absolutely unacceptable that this bill doesn’t do more to provide support and flexibility for victims of domestic violence. An Ontario NDP motion over a year ago called for those escaping intimate partner abuse and assault to have access to 10 days of paid leave, flexible work arrangements and additional reasonable unpaid leave, if needed. Survivors may need time to get medical treatment both for their physical and mental health, to seek victims’ services or social services, to relocate to a shelter or safe home, and to participate in legal proceedings.

That motion passed unanimously. Then was ignored — left out of the new bill. That’s unacceptable.

My amendments will also recognize that workers in every workplace should have the right to choose to form a union. A union card is a ticket into the middle class, a promise of fairness and great stabilizing factor in the lives of Ontario workers.

Yet card-check certification, union successor rights and first-contract arbitration — all things that help workers to form a union and obtain their first, fair collective agreement — are limited to just some workers in some sectors.

That’s not good enough.

Workers and families deserve more stability. This is our opportunity. So let’s do something about it.

Andrea Horwath is leader of Ontario’s NDP.

Major labour law reform? Changing Workplace Review Final Report “majorly disappointing,” says CUPE Ontario President

TORONTO, ON – The long awaited Changing Workplaces Review Final Report proved a major disappointment today when after expecting major reform of Ontario’s labour law to make the legal right to join a union a practical reality for workers outside of traditional workplaces, the final report contained nothing of the sort.

“Rewriting Ontario’s Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act isn’t something any government can do every year or two so when it does happen, it makes sense to expect significant change” CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn said today.
“What happened to the major reforms that workers have been calling for with a virtually unanimous voice?  What happened to card based certification, anti-scab legislation, access to first contract arbitration and recognition of successor rights, they’re nowhere to be found. What happened to paid sick days for all workers?”

Hahn says if the government passes over these changes it will mean placing unionization literally out-of-reach for all those now struggling in precarious employment in Ontario.
Hahn says that doesn’t need to happen.   Despite the failure of the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report to include much needed and long expected major reforms, “they can and should be included” when the government brings forward legislation expected by many to come next week.

“It’s just not defensible in Ontario to say that some workers will have better access than others to constitutionally protected rights like meaningful access to collective bargaining that’s why it’s not unreasonable to expect the Ontario government will follow their federal counterparts and put these changes into legislation.  That’s what I’ll be looking for and I won’t be alone,” Hahn said.

For more information, contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638


An Open Letter to the Peel District School Board Community

Mississauga, ON –

In recent weeks, Canadians have been rightly shocked by media reports of Islamophobia and hate being directed against members of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) community.

Unfortunately, the widely publicized, Islamophobic rhetoric and actions of some in the public galleries at the Peel District School Board’s March 22nd meeting is just one in a series of hate-filled incidents experienced by our school community over the last few months.

From vile attacks on elected school board trustees in public forums and a barrage of ugly comments on social media to the direct targeting of our students by ‘You Tube bounty’, our community is experiencing behavior that is not only deplorable but dangerous.

As education workers, we expect our employer, the Peel District School Board, to ensure our rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom are respected. This is what we want for ourselves, we desire for all others, and especially for our students.

As education workers and members of CUPE, we stand in full support of the PDSB’s effort to ensure students’ human rights are respected in our schools.

We also know that the hateful rhetoric and actions we’re seeing have nothing to do with the steps taken by the PDSB to ensure students’ rights.

They are meant to intimidate and spread hate.

Those who seek to explain away this behaviour as some normal part of a debate on accommodation are at best disingenuous and at worse, deceitfully trying to normalize bigotry.

There is nothing normal about the spewing of hatred, anger and Islamophobia.
It is wrong and it must stop.

As education workers, we do not tolerate bullying, hatred or Islamophobia in the hallways of our schools. As residents of Peel and members of CUPE Ontario, we will not tolerate it in our public Board meetings or in our broader political discourse.

But how should our community confront those behind these disgusting attacks when it is perfectly clear they want to elicit a response and gain attention? In other words, how do we not feed the trolls?

These are real tactical response questions that are unlikely to get easier in our current political climate, but there should never be a question about where we all stand when confronting hate in our community.

For us in CUPE, that is the easy answer.

First, we stand with and we will stand up for, the students of Peel District School Board. Each and every one of them deserves a safe, supportive school environment where they can learn, free from discrimination, bullying or hatred. As education workers, providing them with that environment is our foremost goal and we will always stand up for our students.

In that effort, we stand with the Peel District School Board against those who are spreading Islamophobia at our Board. We stand with the Board in demanding an end to hateful behaviour that is antithetical to creating a learning environment focussed student success. We stand with the Trustees of the Board who deserve to do their work, as our elected representatives, free of the harassment they’ve experienced these past few months.

Finally, we will stand with the Peel District School Board community in pursuit of an inclusive, cooperative and caring learning environment that is respectful of the human rights of all students, staff and parents.

We know in this effort, we do not stand alone.

Lisa Magee, President, CUPE Local 1628
Dan Bouchard, President, CUPE 2544
Terri Preston, Chair, CUPE Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee
Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario

Bill 92 threatens workers’ rights. Message your MPP!

The Ontario Liberal government recently introduced Bill 92 — the School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act. If passed, it will infringe on the collective bargaining rights of education workers by taking away workers’ democratic right to decide if they participate in central bargaining with the provincial government. CUPE Ontario members are not going to sit idly by while this government attempts, once again, to undermine the democratic right to free collective bargaining of education workers. We’ve fought this kind of legislative attack before (and won) and we’ll fight it again.

Tell your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) that Bill 92’s mandatory central bargaining for education workers is wrong and that you expect them to stand up for education workers’ rights.

CUPE Education Workers Reach Tentative Contract Extension With Province

January 8, 2017


TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Jan. 7, 2017)

Education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will be voting on a tentative contract extension reached in talks with the provincial government and the Council of Trustee Associations.

Local leaders met in Toronto today to discuss the outcome of those talks, and they agreed to present the tentative extension to members across the province. Ratification votes will be held in the weeks to come. No details of the tentative extension will be released until CUPE members have had an opportunity to review and vote. If ratified, the deal would extend current collective agreements to August 31st, 2019.

CUPE will have no further comment on the talks or the tentative extension until members have had an opportunity to review the settlement and vote.

55, 000 CUPE members in the school board sector work as educational assistants (EAs), custodians, office administrators, early childhood educators (ECEs), tradespeople, instructors, library technicians, speech pathologists, IT specialists and in many other job classifications.


Andrea Addario

CUPE Communications

(416) 738-4329

Building a stronger CUPE for a better Canada in 2017

As we enter 2017, Canadians are once again looking to us to help build better lives for workers. They are looking to CUPE to help build a better Canada.

Canadians are being conditioned to expect less and less from their employers.  Dead-end jobs, with low wages and no benefits, are becoming the norm.  Jobs with little to no security, fewer and inferior benefits, less control over working conditions, employers demanding ‘flexibility’, which almost always means more casual, more part-time and more term positions – these are the characteristics of precarious work.

Today, as many as one third of all jobs in Canada can be considered precarious, and they are most likely held by the most vulnerable. Women are more likely to work less than 30 hours per week and have no benefits. Young workers are less likely to have workplace pensions, or sick leave. Racialized and Indigenous workers are far more likely to be precariously employed.

There is a clear link between the spread of precarious work and continued inequality in our society. As Canada’s largest union, CUPE has a responsibility to take a stand.

The public services our members provide are the great equalizers in society, so we must not for a moment rest or relent in out fight against privatization. We must continue to support campaigns across Canada to raise the minimum wage and to fight for living wages.  We must fight harder then ever for pay equity, and fair wages – for our members, and for each and every worker in this country.

But most of all we must use our most powerful tool in bettering the lives of Canadian workers. The best tool to fight for equality, to halt the spread of precarious work, to make sure every Canadian can earn a good decent wage, in a safe workplace.  That tool is organizing the unorganized, allowing workers the best way to a better work life – a union, and a collective agreement.

We know a union is the best path to fair wages, good pensions and benefits, and more secure jobs.  Everyone in our great union must play a role in organizing. With your help and dedication, we can ensure the next generation of workers enjoys the benefits that CUPE members have already fought for and won.

Together in 2017 we can keep building CUPE, and keep building a better Canada for all workers.

In solidarity,

Mark Hancock
National President

Charles Fleury
National Secretary-Treasurer

International Day of Human Rights

December 9, 2016


On this, United Nations’ International Day of Human Rights, it’s important for us to reflect on the important gains we have made in Ontario, but we must also recognize that we’re still a long way from all of us being treated equally. Human Rights work is never done.

This year, thanks to the hard work of activists across the province, indeed across the country, many of whom are CUPE members, we’ve seen the creation of an Anti-Racism Directorate in Ontario, and an inquiry has finally been called into missing and murdered Indigenous women. While recognizing these milestones, it is vital that we also recognize that without a clear mandate and proper funding, these victories will be only window dressing used to cover over the deep systemic issues they are meant to address.

In Ontario, we continue to see significant racial profiling being done by police through carding practices that are a clear human rights violation. Many First Nations communities in our province lack basic services and infrastructure that the rest of our communities rely on everyday. Women still earn only $0.72 for every dollar earned by a man and the gender wage gap is actually getting bigger.

Following the American election, we have seen a rash of brazen racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic hate, postered and spray painted on walls in cities across Ontario. Women have been physically molested for wearing a head scarf. And, Trump-style anti-immigration rhetoric is being echoed by right-wing politicians.

We are living through complicated and polarizing times. People all across the province are struggling to make ends meet. Many are working multiple part-time jobs. For those lucky enough to have full-time work, workloads are increasing to the breaking point and wages have not come close to keeping up with rising costs.

We are in a collective state of heightened anxiety and fear, and those on the right are looking to capitalize on people’s insecurities to pit us against each other rather than working together to fix what is broken. We can’t – we won’t – let this happen.

CUPE Ontario has always been a leader in the fight for human rights. We have always worked to make it clear that workers’ rights and equality rights are one and the same. We have one of the most diverse memberships of any union in the country and we are very proud to reflect that reality on our Provincial Executive Board through our six equality seats.

We are just one part of an expansive movement that is fighting for human rights in every country around the world. The work we do together within our union, within the broader labour community, and in coalition with people in our own communities, has positive effects here and around the world.

We will continue to include the fight for equality and human rights in all the work we do, but we can’t do it alone. The active support of all our members is critical to making our world a fairer place for all to live and work.


Copied from CUPE Ontario website

CUPE officially files lawsuit against Ontario’s premier over sale of Hydro One


Hydro One

Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, December 7, 2016 7:26AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 7, 2016 8:33AM EST

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees will be holding a press conference this morning to discuss a lawsuit launched against Ontario’s premier regarding the sale of Hydro One.

In a statement emailed to CP24 Wednesday, CUPE spokesperson Sarah Jordison said the lawsuit was officially filed in court on Tuesday.

News of the lawsuit came in September when CUPE president Fred Hahn announced that lawyers representing the union served the premier, Minister Charles Sousa and Minister Glenn Thibeault with a 60-day notice of intent to sue.

“We don’t do this lightly,” Hahn said during a press conference at Queen’s Park in September.

“Public outcry against the sale has been vast and loud across the province… despite all of this, the premier and her government have insisted on selling off our public hydro system.”

During the news conference, Hahn suggested that the union is concerned about “exclusive” fundraisers the Liberals hosted with cabinet ministers for up to $10,000 a plate.

“A recent Globe and Mail investigation uncovered that invitations to and attendance at these exclusive events included the banks that had made nearly $60 million from the privatization of Hydro One so far,” Hahn said.

In a written statement emailed to CP24 from Thibeault’s office Wednesday, the energy minister addressed the allegations of misconduct.

“The Integrity Commissioner has already reported on this, and recently confirmed that there was no wrongdoing. Our government is and has continued to be focused on building Ontario up and helping people in their everyday lives – broadening the ownership of Hydro One is a crucial part of that plan,” the statement read.

“It allows us to significantly invest in infrastructure without raising taxes, increasing debt, or recklessly cutting public services.”

Hahn previously said that the goal of the lawsuit is to prevent the government from following through with its plan to sell off up to 60 per cent of the utility.

“Our goal with this lawsuit is to protect the people of Ontario and the ratepayers of Hydro One… and to keep majority shares in public hands,” Hahn added.

“The principal reason for filing this suit is to stop them from selling additional shares in our hydro system.”

Today’s press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at Queen’s Park.